Update–Haven Exchange President Dorothy Zink Sets The Record Straight: “Our Customer’s Signature IS Required Prior To Any Release of Funds”

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With this year’s 1031 Tax Group (Ed Okun) and Southwest Exchange (Donald McGhan) disasters fresh in investor’s minds, deansguide has focussed on providing information for investors to consider during their due diligence investigations of this investment strategy. Our recent installment spotlighted Haven Exchange and Union Bank’s “transparency program” aimed at making every step of the exchange process completely clear and under the investor’s control.

In my analysis, with the urging of other industry professionals comments, I posited the idea that true transparency can only be gained if an investor has in place a two signature clause on any exchange accounts holding their money. The two signature clause is the most fail safe approach, I have hear of to date, in preventing fraud or embezzlement during a 1031 exchange.

Below is a recent comment by Haven Exchange President Dorothy Zink. Dorothy has provided the missing link to the question: Does Haven Exchange and Union Bank provide a two signature clause for investors during the 1031 exchange transaction? We are happy to report that Haven Exchange and Union Bank do provide this very important feature in their transactions according to Dorothy’s comment below:

  1. Dorothy Zink | dorothyzink@havenexchange.com | havenexchange.com | IP: 65.60.65.2It can only be with great joy and relief that you receive the news that each one of Haven Exchange’s segregated exchange accounts ARE dual signature, qualified escrow accounts. Our customer’s signature IS required prior to any release of funds.The monthly statements are important because they prove the existance of the segregated accounts. Additionally, Fidelity Bond policies contain a “per occurrance” clause, and segreated accounts extend full bond coverage to each account.Since any difference in earnings paid to a commingled account seldom make it into the pocket of the Taxpayer, but are retained by the Qualified Intermediary, its mention by the Qualified Intermediary is rather misleading. Our customer’s monthly statements reflect the interest rate paid along with the amount. Transparency is beautiful.To quote Mark Twain, “We specialize in the return OF your principle, rather than the return ON your principle.”Nov 28, 8:25 PM — [ Edit | Delete | Unapprove | Approve | Spam ] — Haven Exchange’s 1031 “Transparency”: Will This Model Prevent 1031 Exchange Fraud or Embezzlement In The Future?

Remember always perform your due diligence with a qualified professional ie attorney, CPA, or investment advisor for added protection. Thanks again to Dorothy for bringing this important information to our readers.

Step #1 For Realtors To Understand Real Estates Paradigm Shift: Your World Is Changing Do Not Get Left In The Dust

Foxbusiness.com picked up this article 11/29/2007

The world of real estate is going through a paradigm shift of the highest order with marketing campaigns moving from print to online (see therealestatebloggers.com for data), clients becoming more active in their search for information, and lead generation for Realtors becoming informational rather than self promotional. Understanding this massive shift is just the beginning to stepping into the progressive changes that are occurring in the industry.

Many Realtors deserved or not (my mom is a Realtor) have over the years been perceived by the public as information hording (MLS data), win-lose based, high pressure salespeople. The perception of the greedy Realtor is being changed with the adoption of Web 2.0 sharing of information, blogging and the tone of the blogisphere, as well as the continued demands on extensive Realtor education.

Therefore Step #1 for a Realtor to understand this paradigm shift is to cease being a salesperson. For an example of a salesperson view our video above. Stay away from selling clients, pressuring decisions, cajoling, or using any number of outmoded-outdated sales tactics meant to elicit the magic “Yes” word. Those days are over! Now repeat after me: “Those days are over.”

Today’s Realtor is a collaborative partner, information wellspring, and a thought provoking ally to the client. By becoming an expert in your niche, providing an endless amount of value through expertise and information, and allowing clients to feel comfortable, you will create the type of business you wish to achieve.

Step #1: Drop the salesman persona and you will begin your ascent into the future of real estate.

Breaking News–US Trustee In 1031 Tax Group Case Answers JPS Capital: “JPS Is Not Currently Offering $148 Million To Okun And The Creditors”

In response to a recent claim that JPS Capital sent a offer sheet for $148 million to Ed Okun and the US Trustee in charge of managing the settlement for creditors in the 1031 Tax Group case, Trustee Jerry McHale flatly denied such an offer with accompanying documentation was made to him. When told that JPS Capital’s Joel Shapiro asserted that a offer sheet for $148 million had been submitted, in writing, to Mr. McHale’s office, Mr. McHale responded with the following:

“Certainly if Mr. Shapiro wants to make the $148 million loan to Mr. Okun or wishes to purchase all of the assets that were recently transferred to me in the Asset Transfer Agreement approved by the court, I would certainly be more than willing to accept that $148 million so that I could distribute it to the creditors so that we can all get on with life.”

Mr. McHale’s comment is in response to my article dated November 20 “JPS Capital’s $148 Million Dollar Commitment To Mr. Okun and the Creditor’s Committee: Why Is 1031 Tax Group Trustee Not Acknowledging This Loan?” This article was based upon the following comment left on this blog by JPS Capital principle Joel Shapiro:

“Having read your October 26, 2007 article on the 1031 Tax Group Reorganization, we want to contact you to correct any misimpression that you have with respect to JPS Capital Partners role in this transaction. We would ask that you update your story to reflect the statement below:

JPS issued a $300 million Term Sheet to Edward Okun on June 20, 2007 based upon representations made by Mr. Okun as to the value of his assets. After performing due diligence it became apparent that the values represented to JPS could not be verified. Based on the values that we were able to verify, JPS issued a commitment to Okun for $148,625,000 on October 8, 2007. This commitment provided Okun, and by extension the creditors, with $20 million at closing and with the ability to receive up to an additional $125 million over the ensuing 24 months, through profit participation as the assets are liquidated.

This is a plan designed to maximize value for the Estate and its creditors, given the values of the underlying collateral.”

Joel G. Shapiro
Principal
JPS Capital Partners LLC
200 West 57 Street
Suite 303
New York NY 10019
212-790-6714
jshapiro@jpscap.com

Oct 29, 1:46 PM

It was recently brought to my attention that deansguide is a relied upon source of information by creditors. The same creditor who told me this also pointed out that creditors reading this blog may get the wrong impression if I report that JPS is funding a settlement. The fear according to my anonymous friend was that people may use the information on deansguide to wait for a settlement or plan their own recovery strategies.

NOTE: Always and I mean Always perform your due diligence in any settlement case with the advise of an attorney, tax specialist, CPA, or licensed financial planner. Do NOT utilize this blog as your SOLE source of information when making vital and important decisions regarding your financial future!

My wishes go out to all involved in this case for a speedy and satisfying recovery!

5 Tips To Generate Realtor Site Content: A Beginners Guide To Creating Your “Content” Library

The biggest complaint Realtor’s harbor when deciding on beginning a blog is the task of coming up with new and fresh articles day in and day out. Although many other obstacles, of much greater importance, stand in the way of adoption, generating content seems to be the biggest fear. Stop making excuses, stop being afraid of the unknown, here are a few simple tips to help you find your content:

1. Notebook or Notebook: Always keep one of the following tools with you everywhere you go. Either carry a small paper notebook and pencil or your notebook computer. Ideas can and will strike you at anytime during the day or at night. Do not let these ideas slip into the abyss of your untraceable memory. Write or type everything down. The alternative to this method is to use your cell phone to record a “memo” of a content idea or a small tape recorder ala “Mission Impossible.” The blog http://theblogexperiment.com is a great resource and they give great reasons to “write everything down.”

By implementing this practice, you will find ideas throughout your work day or in conversation with others.

2. Mine Your Email: Within your email archive lies a library of content ideas. Look for situations where you have “fixed” a problem for a client. Search for newsletter or correspondence from information sources with industry information pertinent to your niche. Finally Scour through and identify actions you have taken to help someone else or answers you have provided. These are blog articles waiting to happen!

3. Lists or Guides: Often thought of as linkbaiting (a subject for another post), compiling a article about a list of “do’s or don’ts”, a list of “tips” (sound familiar), or a “How to Guide” is considered the most popular types of content to provide your readers. Simply put, we all love to learn and these types of articles garner readership. How do you find tips, lists, or guide material? Take an inventory of your business niche and expertise. What do you know that would help others? What “secrets” or “tips” do you know that would help save people time or money? Get the picture? You are an authority on something. Bring that knowledge forward to your readers.

4. Research Your Competition: Go to Google Blog Search or Google Search and begin to identify the top bloggers in your region and your niche business. Make a list of their “themes”, “Tips-Lists-Guides” articles, and observe the comments that these bloggers are receiving. Now if you agree with an article then write one with your positive analysis. If you disagree with an article then make an argument for a better solution; support your solution and present it as a compare and contrast article.

5. Read, Read, Read: Online news sites are popular but what about a site that crams everything from mainstream news down to Web 2.0 mashable sites with multiple media deliveries ie video, audio, text. Try www.popurls.com as a source of fantastic content ideas. Popurl provides bullet point, easy to follow, descriptions of stories that are categorized for the reader. Each point is a link to an article. Each link then opens the door to a world of content within the site you are visiting.

Tip: If you are mining for content in another blog then look at that blog’s blogroll or outgoing links. Those sources will open up even more content sources with similar information as the original link you followed. My investigation of popurls led me to Guy Kawasaki a truly gifted speaker and a dynamo full of content ideas. See Guy’s article on popurls here:

http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2007/09/reality-check-p.html

These 5 Tips will help you begin to aggregate ideas for content boosting your confidence and demonstrating once again that the only thing stopping you from success is you yourself.

What Is the Significance of November 22 Besides Thanksgiving Day? The 44 Year Anniversary of JFK’s Assassination

I do not profess to be a historian nor am I a political activist. Yet November 22, yesterday, came and passed as our Thanksgiving Day celebration. Nowhere and I mean nowhere in mainstream media, print or television, was there a mention that November 22, 2007 marks the 44 year anniversary of the assasination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy our country’s greatest hope for justice and peace.

Yes 44 years is not a round number or one that we traditionally celebrate or mourn an anniversary in this country. But it is very significant that we continue to pretend that the assassination of one of this country’s greatest statesman was nothing more than a single act carried out by a lone gunman bent on taking political Cold War action for his beloved Cuba.

The proof that this was a coup led by our government to silence JFK permanently is everywhere-except in our mainstream media. Without listing the facts regarding the trajectory of a bullet, the lack of a standard operating procedure Secret Service advance recon trip to Dallas, that Kennedy and his brother were alienating and attempting to prosecute the very mobsters that helped them get elected, and the most important fact of all that Kennedy was dead set against a Vietnam invasion you can come to a serious conclusion by watching the video (above) of Kennedy’s ride into danger.

The tape, provided by brasschecktv.com, is a template for what seems so obvious yet is never talked about or brought up in this event. Where were the Secret Service agents assigned to act as “human shields” by standing up on the special back bumper of Kennedy’s limo that day? When you watch the tape, it is clear and plain that the agents who were assigned to act as the shields were ordered off the bumper and away from the limo. This can be seen plainly as one of the agents acts astonished and defiant in his reaction to the order.

The only answer that we can come to is that the agents were ordered away from the back bumper so that the snipers, no not just one sniper, would have a clear unencumbered shot at killing the president. There IS ABSOLUTELY NO JUSTIFIABLE EXPLANATION FOR THIS ORDER TO BE GIVEN-NONE.

The only reason it happened was for the aforementioned reason-our government was in on a plot to kill Kennedy in order to move Johnson into the White House. The original target was JFK’s brother Bobby for his zealot like attempted prosecution of high ranking mafia Dons most notably the most powerfu, unknown to the public, man of all Calogero Minacore aka Carlos Marcello.

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Courtesy Wikipedia

Marcello wanted both brothers dead and he was a friend to the CIA and many in our government having been the original “contractor” to be considered for the assasination of Fidel Castro.

Consequently our government wanted a Vietnam War for profit, the most powerful in the mafia wanted the Kennedy’s dead, and our covert organizations ie CIA wanted to use the mob as hitmen as well as get involved in a War. All of the things that JFK stood for and was attempted to bring to America were a threat to the power base in this country.

Consequently our Thanksgiving dinners were enjoyed, we recognized and remembered our family members, and we celebrated our country. What did you do to remember one of our greatest leaders? God be with you John F. Kennedy!

Sitemeter A Blogger’s “Bloodhound”: Union Bank of California-Haven Exchange Scenario A Case Study For Blogger Analytics

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Although I have written an article extolling the usefulness of Sitemeter, the fantastic traffic monitoring tool for bloggers, my recent experience with the article “Haven Exchange’s “1031 Transparency”: Will This Model Prevent 1031 Exchange Fraud or Embezzlement In The Future” is a fantastic example of Sitemeter’s utility-value to a blogger. In this article I outlined Haven Exchange’s “transparency program and their partnership with Union Bank of California. I presented their information and value proposition as well as their challenge to the 1031 industry to adopt their transparency program. Finally I presented my analysis which consisted of one question regarding a two signature policy for all accounts during the exchange process. Hopefully both Union Bank and Haven Exchange enjoyed the article and the subsequent readership and exposure it is receiving.

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The results of this article are very important for bloggers. Sitemeter provided a very close look at the traffic I received the day I released this article. In order to understand your readership, it is critical to invest time in analyzing either sitemeter or other traffic monitoring sites. Here are the very interesting facts that sitemeter provided me, real time on November 12 the day of the article, in regards to the readership of this one article:

1. Domain Name: Union Bank of California’s domain name was showing up in a large number in Whittier and Los Angeles.

2. ISP Addresses: Union Bank of California had at last count 21 separate ISP addresses that were reading the article.

3. Page Views: 93 is my all time high for one day on one article. To date the article has been read 196 times in nine days.

4. Visit Length: To my astonishment, 5 Union Bank of California ISP addresses remained on deansguide for 96, 56, 48, 35, 31 minutes respectively and the other 16 ISP addresses, combined with these five, spent over 5 HOURS ON my site.

5. Location by Country: This identifies the country, city, state, or region from which traffic is coming to your site.

Conclusion: Sitemeter gives statistics in a real time format that can be followed and examined throughout the day. It identifies locations of traffic which can reveal new trends or popularity in places you never imagined. I am big in Serbia for some unexplained reason. In addition it shows time spent on your site, pages viewed, and what is being read. This information allows you to concentrate on subject matter that is popular essentially customizing your message to your audience. It is, in my opinion, the end all be all and beginning point for a blogger in understanding the importance of statistical analysis of their traffic. Besides, if you are a stat geek like me you will absolutely love it!

Thanks go out to the people at Union Bank of California and Haven’s Exchange for their readership.

JPS Capital’s $148 Million Dollar Commitment to Mr. Okun and the Creditor’s Committee: Why Is 1031 Tax Group Trustee Not Acknowledging This Loan?

FoxBusiness.com published this article on November 20, 2007

In the continuing saga that is the Ed Okun 1031 Tax Group case, I recently received a link to U.S. Trustee Mr. Jerry McHale’s blog-newsletter which contains the most up to date information on the Okun settlement. In the first paragraph of Mr. McHale’s opening salvo, dated November 18, 2007, into the blogisphere, resides the following statement:

“. . . the proposed reorganization plan collapsed when the proposed JPS funding of a subastantial loan to Mr. Okun failed to materialize.”

Finding this interesting to say the least, after JPS Capital Principle Joel Shapiro commented on deansguide to the complete opposite scenario, I once again inquired to Mr. Shapiro as to JPS Capital’s role in the 1031 Tax Group settlement. Mr. Shapiro was kind enough to communicate the following information I will paraphrase.

JPS Capital was unable to provide the originally proposed loan amount of $300 million due to the fact that the “underlying assets” did not support a loan of that amount. Instead JPS Capital, based on the JPS’s underwriting of the underlying capital, was able to provide a $148 million loan to Okun (bankrupt debtor) and the creditor’s committee.

In the most telling statement by Mr. Shapiro, he asserts that JPS Capital sent Mr. McHale a copy of the JPS commitment letter. Consequently JPS is claiming that they have performed in this matter and that Mr. McHale has their commitment letter in hand.

So what is actually transpiring here in this case? Is Mr. McHale’s statement a hasty one or one made by mistake? According to JPS Capital they are funding a loan for $148 miilion to help bail out both Okun and his investor victims. Yet Mr. McHale has the situation going forward without any loan from JPS Capital.

Can anyone straighten this information out for the creditors waiting for any signs of positive news in their ongoing battle to salvage their retirement monies that have gone up in smoke?

Is Mr. McHale out there or anyone connected to him who could enlighten us as to the situation at hand, has a committment letter been received, and has JPS become part of the solution? Stay tuned and hold on.

UPDATE: New York Bankruptcy Court Appointed Trustee Produces First Newsletter Outlining 1031 Tax Group Asset Status

Reuters.com of Europe picked up this article 11/19/2007

Recently appointed Trustee to the 1031 Tax Group case, Jerry McHale, has produced a newsletter outlining the latest information regarding Ed Okun’s assets, their disposition, and related court matters. The following link, provided by Okun victim Elizabeth Callanan in a comment on deansguide, is a vital source of information for any investors attempting to find the latest news on the case: http://trustee1031taxgroup.com/content/view/14 .

The newsletter is packed with important information. Here are some of the highlights:

1. Jerry McHale the U.S. Bankruptcy Court appointed Trustee for the 1031 Tax Group investors stated in his newsletter the following regarding JPS Capital’s role in the case to this point with the newsletter being dated November 18, 2007:

“Acting on a Memorandum Opinion Granting Motion for Appointment of Chapter 11 Trustee issued by Judge Glenn on October 23, 2007, the US Trustee’s Office named and the Bankruptcy Court appointed me (McHale) as the Chapter 11 trustee in the 1031 bankruptcy cases. This occurred after the proposed reorganization plan collapsed when the proposed JPS funding of a substantial loan to Mr. Okun failed to materialize.

2. Two of Mr. Okun’s vehicles were the only assets, according to McHale, that “. . . were not transfered to the trustee: a Lamborghini and a Hummer.”

3. Homes on Hibiscus Island in Miami and in New Hampshire remain Mr. Okun’s assets.

4. Assets of Interest Turned Over: West Oaks Mall (Houston) currently in bankruptcy and under the control of another trustee in Virginia; Crossroads Trucking and Logistics, a business according to McHale that is in financial trouble; and a 130,000 ft warehouse outside of Shreveport, Louisiana, part owned by Mr. Okun, that is currently being leased by FEMA.

5. State of the Real Estate: Mr. McHale’s following assertion may be what people expected but it remains the most disturbing news to me: “. . . upon receipt of the real estate, virtually all of the operations were suffering serious operational difficulties and most were operating with negative cash flows. Also, virtually all of the properties have non-conventional lenders providing financing at relatively high interest rates. It appears that Okun’s properties have significant debts and in some cases, he further sold interests to third parties as tenants in common. Consequently, the equity position available to the creditors in this case is nowhere as high as initially believed by the creditors in this case.”

Mr. McHale goes on to detail the “top notch team” put in place to execute the monetization and liquidation of assets. The list of team members performing these duties and their areas of expertise:

* Boardwalk Partners (Upstate New York) will handle “operating properties” and the real estate end of the liquidation. Curiously a website for this group is difficult to find therefore no link was provided.

* Golenback, Eiseman of New York City will handle all the legal matters with Mr. Jonathan Flaxer, partner, the lead bankruptcy counsel.

* Deloitte-Touche is being retained to review the assets and strategize their eventual and hopeful liquidation.

Mr. McHale’s job will be a large one but he seems more than capable. I am neither a legal analyst nor an advisor. If you have a stake in this case always perform your due diligence with an attorney or certified tax adviser in order to obtain the best possible advice.


“84 Percent of Journalists Okay Blogs As A Source For News Articles”: 2007 Arketi Web Watch Survey Validates Bloggers As Viable Content Source For National Media

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In what must be a surprise to those who do not understand blogging and others who hold fast to the traditional print media supremacy within the world of information distribution, the respected Arketi Group’s “Web Watch Survey” reports that “when it comes to using blogs as primary or secondary sources for articles, 84 percent of journalist say they would or already have.” This admission by main stream journalists points to the relevance of blogging as a viable and important information source, it indicates that blogging is no longer a hobbyists endeavor, and it culminates the suspicions that the main stream media is being forced (kicking and screaming) into the new delivery channel that is the internet. Thanks to Tim at blogburst, and the Center for Media Research, for the following information in his great article “Journalists Using Blogs As Sources.” Asked how they use the internet journalists replied:

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* 100% of the journalists interviewed say they rely on the internet for content

* 98% say reading news

* 97% say emailing

* 93% say finding news sources

* 89% say finding story ideas

* 72% say reading blogs (I suspect this number is actually higher)

* 67% say watching webinars or webcasts

Conclusion: Although I consult to the real estate industry, all industry must investigate and observe this shift in main stream media. Niches like law firms, insurance brokers, medical and dental practitioners, and other service providers must consider the advantages to blogging. Most of the aforementioned niches are not yet populated or overrun with well established blogs. The timing is right right now to get started in claiming your piece of the Google “Land Grab” aka Google search(s) page one top 10 spots for important searches within your industry.

Realtor’s Down Market Survival Kit Tool #6: Networking and Opportunities Happen Anywhere-Will You Be Ready?

The following was written to illustrate the power of networking which produced a wonderful “chance” meeting in a winery tasting room between myself, my business partner, and a Director of Human Resources for a Silicon Valley based bio-tech company. Allow me to outline the components that led to us making a great contact.

In Survival Kit Tool #2 Networking , the idea is to bring awareness to Realtors that networking is to Realtors’ marketing campaigns what location, location, location is to the industry: the main focus and most vital aspect of success. But in order to understand networking and how it works you must first understand three simple facts: time, location, and preparedness.

1. Time: More precisely as in almost any time is the right time to network. If you adopt this anytime rule then you must recognize that your business success becomes a part of who you are when you “show up” in the world. This simply means that when you engage people you keep your mind open to shifting from leisure to business.

2. Location: Nearly any place at nearly any time can bring a solid opportunity to network with people. You can be in your dry cleaners, at the grocery store, working out at your health club, standing at gas pump, waiting in line at Peets for your morning brew, or wine tasting in the Napa Valley. Remember that when the opportunity strikes what is important is the fact that it is an opportunity regardless of the time frame or location involved.

3. Preparedness: When that opportunity to connect presents itself will you be ready? Will you have a precise, succinct 10-20 second message (pitch for you salespeople) that both informs and excites your audience? Can you deliver this message without it sounding “sales-ish”? Are you prepared to give people something so compelling that they will ask you: “Can you tell me more about this?”. . . “That sounds interesting how does that work?” . . . “How do I find out more about this?”.

When you can elicit responses like the three above, after giving someone your 10-20 second message, then you have paved the way to open communication leading to a successful connection.

How did we make our powerful new connection with a Director of Human Resources for a Silicon Valley bio-tech company? It was simple and natural by applying the three concepts. First I always remain open to a shift from leisure to business. Nearly any time is the right time concept.

Our new friend arrived at the tasting room, after a moment of conversation with the server, and made a business related remark to her friend obviously a co-worker. Understanding that the comment was an open topic between my about to be new contact, her co-worker, and everyone in the tasting room, I seized the opportunity and asked her ABOUT HER BUSINESS. Simple yet lost is the art of asking others to talk about themselves-we all love to be recognized.

Second, our location in a winery tasting room should never be a deterrent to responding to an open conversation which may lead to a connection. Whether we were in a boardroom, laundry mat, or winery tasting matters very little. What matters is the opportunity, when presented, should be followed up on in the moment in that place.

Third, once I engaged my new contact I was prepared to listen to her description of her business. She told us she was a Director of HR for a bio-tech firm in Silicon Valley and she was with her counterpart and friend based in the midwest. The two were celebrating a successful year with a one day trip to Napa Valley. The friends and co-workers were enjoying a wonderful afternoon, they were talkative, and they were more than willing to participate in conversation.

Upon completing her description (with me supporting her by nodding and acknowledging her information), my new friend was ready to provide me with the same opportunity to connect AND I WAS PREPARED.

I described my new business launch for innerarchitect.com, our focus, and the results we experience when we apply our concepts to the corporate environment. Upon completion of my 20 seconds I immediately introduced my business partner. Our new friend told us she was interested in providing more employee enrichment education and that she was interested in our concept.

Consequently my business partner took over the description of our seminar, workshop, and training programs. I stepped back and listened. At the end of their 5 minute conversation, we all shook hands and exchanged contact information. I had a business card with me! Our new contact did not so she used one of my cards to write her contact information down.

There you have it in a nutshell. I was prepared with my message and my cards, I was open to networking regardless of our tasting room location, and I was willing to make the shift, at any time, from our leisure activity to business conversation. Networking on the fly? No just simple and open communication that anyone can practice, prepare, and execute in order to optimize every facet of their life.